Probe excess bills claimed by AG and recover money: NGO

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Panaji, Apr 1 (UNI) NGO Utt Goenkara's spokesman Advocate Aires Rodrigues today renewed his plea with Governor S C Jamir to sack Advocate General Subodh Kantak and order a probe into all the bills submitted by him, while ensuring recovery of all excess amounts paid.

If the AG had any respect for the chair, he would have volunteered to refund the Rs 8.24 lakhs paid to him for his appearance in the High Court on January 27, 2006 in the Salelim riots case involving the bail applications of 103 accused, Mr Rodrigues said.

The AG was allegedly paid 103 times Rs 8000 although it was factually a common argument for the whole batch of bail applications, he told a press conference here today.

Stating that Utt Goenkara would take the AG fees issue to the people's court across Goa, Mr Rodrigues said filing PILs in Goa was not in public interest as every PIL was yet another opportunity for the AG to further plunder the State exchequer.

The NGO, he said, had resolved not be cowed down by the ''intimidating and arm twisting tactics'' being resorted to by the beleaguered AG.

Asserting that it was only Mr Kantak who could have upheld the dignity of the high constitutional post of Advocate General, Mr Rodrigues said the former, by his own misdeeds, had brought irreparable disrepute and disgrace to the post he was entrusted.

Utt Goenkara, he said, had rightly in public interest taken up the issue of exorbitant fees being paid to the AG. Mr Rodrigues said it is no surprise that the AG is trying to target him.

Stating that Mr Kantak was the highest paid AG in the country, Mr Rodrigues said the former was paid a whopping Rs 2.55 crore for the period from June 16, 2005 to August 31, 2007.

Mr Rodrigues said he had received a letter from the Law department today stating that the AG's fees were now being revised, which vindicates the stand taken by Utt Goenkara.

He also stressed the urgent need to revise and rationalise the fees being paid to the AG by bringing them in line with other states and leaving no loopholes for any future AG to financially bleed the State exchequer.

Recalling that he had to file PILs even during the BJP rule when Mr Kantak was heading the Congress Party's legal cell, Mr Rodrigues challenged him to show his contribution to the Goan society by way of Public Interest Litigations.

Stating that the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) at its last meeting was highly critical of the AG, Mr Rodrigues said Mr Kantak's ''misdeeds'' had also come under the scanner and scrutiny of the State legislative assembly concluded recently.

The AG, he said, should not have shied away from addressing the Goa Legislative Assembly and clarifying his position vis-a-vis the exorbitant fees he has been receiving.


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